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Quality of Care for 3-year-olds in Early Childhood Centres in Quebec and Kindergartens in France

Nathalie Bigras, Philippe Dessus, Lise Lemay, Caroline Bouchard, Christine Lequette

Research Framework: This quantitative comparative study uses the conceptual framework of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model.

Objectives: The study compares quality levels of adult-child interactions and structural quality (regulation, ratio, training) of early childhood education services for 3-year-olds in Quebec and France.

Methodology: The study compares 41 kindergarten classes in Grenoble (France) with 40 early childhood centers (CPE) in Montreal (Canada). Educators (CPE) and teachers (Mat) were observed using the Class Assessment Scoring System for Preschool (CLASS PreK, Pianta et al., 2008).

Results : The results show that Quebec’s educators obtain a significantly higher level of adult-child quality interactions compared to 3 years old children in French kindergarten in all three domains of the CLASS. Results also indicate lower quality levels of the interactions when educators/teachers, groups/classes size, and education levels are higher.

Conclusion : Reducing the size of groups/classes and assuring specific training in early childhood could help improve the quality of interactions. Younger educators/teachers, who may be more aware of pedagogical approaches that promote the quality of adult-child interactions, could support the most experienced and the quality of their teaching practices.

Contributions : This study highlights some concerns about Quebec’s and France’s early childhood education systems policies. The implementation conditions for 4 years of ECE services by Québec’s government should be under reflection. In France, as attendance in kindergarten is now mandatory for all 3 years old children, the conditions associated with the quality of interactions may be questioned in this context.